MSc Management

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Comparative Employment Relations and International HRM

Course unit fact file
Unit code BMAN73122
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course introduces students to the key features that shape employment and international human resource management (IHRM) in global work settings. It considers the different dimensions of globalisation while also acknowledging the remaining diversity in employment practices across countries by introducing students to features of ‘national employment systems’, focusing on systems of corporate governance, welfare, training and labour market regulation (wage-setting and employment protection). This course unit also explains the growing role of multinational companies (MNCs) and the changing character of the international division of labour, in the context of a growing internationalization of business and trade and persistent differences in the employment systems of different countries. Key issues include international staffing, the transfer of HR practices, and the relationship between multinational corporations and host environments. The course concludes with a consideration of the processes of offshoring and institutions governing pan-national labour standards. These issues are explored through careful readings of survey and case study results.


BMAN73122 Programme Req: BMAN73122 is only available as a core unit to students on MSc Management


This course unit has the objectives of enabling students to understand and explain:

•       the implications of the growing internationalization of business and trade for the employment policies of companies;

•       the character of persistent difference in national employment systems among advanced capitalist countries;

•       how differences in employment institutions in different countries shape and constrain employment policies of multinational companies;

•       the various ways multinational companies manage labour to meet complex cross-national operations in the production and delivery of goods and services

•       the challenges to national employment systems posed by the increasing presence of multinational companies through subsidiaries and offshoring and the case for new forms of (pan-)national employment regulation and control.



Learning outcomes

At the end of the course unit students will be able to:

  • Provide comparative analysis of national employment / industrial relations systems that recognises similarities and differences between different countries and contrasts their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Discuss how recent changes in the international business environment have impacted employment relations and human resource management practices in different countries and workplace settings.
  • Identify the challenges that MNCs face in terms of staffing and how they shape employment in their host environment, both through their own subsidiaries and through the process of offshoring.
  • Identify and explain tensions and contradictions that emerge from the challenges posed by globalization on the roles and relationship of different actors (e.g. multinational corporations, workers, governments, unions) interacting in contemporary global labour markets.


Assessment methods

Examination (100%)

Feedback methods

Written and in class

Recommended reading

  • Rubery, J. and Grimshaw, D. 2003. The Organisation of Employment: an International Perspective, London: Palgrave.
  • Edwards, T. & Rees, C. (eds.) (2017) International HRM: Globalization, National Systems and Multinational Companies (3 Edition), Harlow: Pearson Education.
  • Harzing, A.-W. & Pinnington, A.H. (eds.) (2014) International Human Resource Management (4 Edition), London: Sage.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Seminars 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 123

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Arjan Keizer Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Informal Contact Method

Office Hours

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